Apr 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Consumers crave cheerful content during the coronavirus crisis

Gif of smiling faces
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Consumers are looking for fun and lighthearted entertainment to relieve stress during the coronavirus crisis, instead of categories like true crime or suspense.

Why it matters: Some mediums, like podcasting, that over-index on genres like true crime, may be partially impacted by the fact that consumers need a break from their regular content routines.

Driving the news: According to new research from tv research firm Magid, consumers are seeking out funny (39%) and fun (31%) videos, movies and TV programs during the coronavirus crisis.

  • More consumers are also watching familiar entertainment, or series and movies they already know. According to Magid, about a third of consumers have increased their engagement with content they already know well.
  • Users are looking for comedic relief, according to new data from Captify, a firm that specializes in search retargeting. Users searching for search terms within Captify's network such as funny movies, standup comedy, comedy, funny and sitcom as they relate to movies and TV shows was up over 314% from March 1 to April 12.

A similar phenomenon is happening with podcasts. Podcast consumption has been down since the virus began keeping people at home.

  • True Crime, which is traditionally one of podcasts' top categories, has been down in downloads over the past few weeks, according to data from podcast analytics firm Podtrac. News, business, and comedy are some of the top categories that have seen the most growth during the coronavirus era.

Between the lines: With more people stuck at home with families, including small kids, family entertainment is up during the coronavirus.

  • According to data from Hulu, the content categories that have seen the biggest jumps in viewers during the coronavirus are were dramas, movies and kids content.

What's next: While news and information has become a much heavier part of people's consumption diets during the coronavirus era, that could start to wear off as people get sick of the constant stream of bad news.

  • According to the Magid study, for the first time, about 1 in every 6 people say they are starting to actively avoid the news in order to relieve their stress.
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